ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf Bava Metzia 84
BAVA METZIA 81-85 - Ari Kornfeld has generously sponsored the
Dafyomi publications for these Dafim for the benefit of Klal
(a) Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yossi, like Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon, was
appointed by the king to catch robbers. When Eliyahu asked him for how long
he would contimue to hand over Jews to be killed - he, like the captain,
asked what he could possibly do, since he was only following the king's
(b) Eliyahu's replied - that just as his father (Rebbi Yossi) had fled to
Asya (to escape the Romans) so too, should he escape to Ludki.
(c) When Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yossi and Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon met -
a pair of oxen could have passed between their stomachs without touching
(d) Based on the size of their stomachs, a Roman matron once commented -
that their children could not possibly be their own, because there was no
way that they could perform Tashmish with their wives.
(e) When they replied that their wives were even fatter than they were - she
retorted that, far from resolving the problem, it actually enhanced it.
(a) To dispel her problem, they cited the Pasuk "Ki ka'Ish Gevuraso" -
meaning that a man's strength (i.e. his Eiver Tashmish) is made to suit his
(b) Alternatively, they answered her - that love causes the flesh to
(c) We learn from the Pasuk "Al Ta'an K'sil ke'Avlaso" - that one should not
answer a wicked person's foolish questions.
(d) They nevertheless took the trouble to answer her - in order to prevent
their children from being termed Mamzerim.
(a) Rebbi Yochanan gives the size of Rebbi Yishmael b'Rebbi Yossi's Eiver
Tashmish as being the equivalent of a flask that holds nine Kabin, and Rav
Papa gives the size of Rebbi Yochanan's as five or three Kabin. The size of
Rav Papa's Eiver Tashmish was - equivalent to baskets made in Harpanya.
(b) Rebbi Yochanan boasted - that he alone, remained from all of the
good-looking men of Yerushalayim.
(c) If someone were to take a silver cup fresh from the factory, fill it
with kernels from a red pomegranate, line its rim with a crown of red roses
and place it between the sun and the shade, the resulting shine emanating
from it would remind one of - the beauty of Rebbi Yohanan('s complexion).
(d) A statement of Mar, that the beauty of Rav Kahana was reminiscent of
that of Rebbi Avahu, which in turn, was reminiscent of Ya'akov Avinu, omits
Rebbi Yochanan from the list - because, unlike those in the list, he did not
have a Hadras Panim (i.e. a beard [see also Agados Maharsha]).
(e) Ya'akov Avinu's beauty resembled - that of Adam ha'Rishon.
(a) Rebbi Yochanan would sit by the gates of Tevilah (near where the women
would Tovel) - so that when they came up from Toveling, they would immediate
spot him, and subsequently, have their minds on him during Tashmish, with
the result that they would give birth to children who were beautiful and
learned like him (see Agados Maharsha).
(b) When the Rabbanan asked him whether he was not afraid of Ayin ha'Ra, he
replied - that he was from the tribe of Yosef, who are not subject to Ayin
(c) Rebbi Avahu learn this from the Pasuk "Ben Poras Yosef, Ben Poras Alei
Ayin" - because they Darshen 'Al Tikri "Alei Ayin", Ela "Olei Ayin" ' (and
since the B'nei Yosef are above the eye, the eye can have no power over
(d) Rebbi Yossi b'Rebbi Chanina derives it from the Pasuk - "Ve'yidgu la'Rov
be'Kerev ha'Aretz" (comparing Yosef to fish, which are covered by water and
are therefore in a different domain than the eye that is looking at them
[rendering them outside its jurisdiction]).
(a) When Rebbi Yochanan first spotted Resh Lakish swimming in the Jordan
1. ... he was so intrigued by his strength - that he jumped into the water
after him. So ...
(b) Resh Lakish was suddenly unable to swim back for his clothes - because,
having accepted Rebbi Yochanan's offer, the natural weakness of a
Talmid-Chacham already effected him.
2. ... he said to him - 'Your strength is for learning Torah' (see Agados
Maharsha). To which ...
3. ... Resh Lakish replied - 'Your beauty is for women'. To which ...
4. ... Rebbi Yochanan responded - that he had a sister who was more
beautiful than himself, and that if Resh Lakish would do Teshuvah (and
dedicate himself to learning Torah) he could have her as a wife.
(c) He married sister of Rebbi Yochanan, whilst his brother-in-law
subsequently taught him the written and the oral Toros, until he became one
of the great Torah-scholars of his day.
(a) The Mishnah in Keilim states that metal vessels, such as swords, spears
and sickles, become subject to Tum'ah from the time that they are completed,
which Rebbi Yochanan explains 'mi'she'Yetzarfem ba'Kivshan' - which means
from the time that they are tempered in the furnace.
(b) Resh Lakish - says that the stage of completion is reached after they
have been furbished in water (which, among other things, gives them a
(c) When Rebbi Yochanan commented that a robber knows his trade (which Resh
Lakish understood in a derogatory sense), Resh Lakish responded by stating -
that Rebbi Yochanan should not hurt him (see Eitz Yosef), because they had
called him 'Rebbi' already before he met his brother-in-law, when he was
still a robber-chief.
(d) Rebbi Yochanan (who understood Resh Lakish to mean that he had given him
nothing by teaching him Torah and making him a Rebbi [Eitz Yosef]) pointed
out - that he had brought him under the wings of the Shechinah (and that was
what distinguished between his current title 'Rebbi' and his previous one).
(e) Rebbi Yochanan's anger caused Resh Lakish to become ill.
(a) When Rebbi Yochanan's sister beseeched him to have pity, first on her
son, (who would become a Yasom) and then, on herself (who would become an
Almanah, unless he prayed for Resh Lakish's recovery) he replied with the
Pasuk in Yirmiyah, which states that Hashem looks after Yesomim and Almanos.
(b) When, upon Resh Lakish's death, Rebbi Yochanan became grief-stricken,
the Rabbanan sent Rebbi Elazar ben P'das to make up for his terrible loss -
because he was exceptionally sharp in his approach to learning.
(c) This did not work out however - because whereas Resh Lakish would ask
twenty-four Kashyos on everything Rebbi Yochanan said (as a result of which
the Sugyos would become lucid), Rebbi Elazar tended to quote a Beraisa in
support of whatever Rebbi Yochanan said. But this irritated Rebbi Yochanan,
since it clarified nothing, nor did he need proof that what he had said was
(d) So Rebbi Yochanan rent his garments over his death, and he cried
bitterly for Resh Lakish - until eventually, he went out of his mind. At
that point, the Rabbanan prayed that he should die.
(a) In spite of Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon's earlier statement (assuring
himself that the people that he had arrested were all guilty), he took upon
himself Yisurin (suffering) - and contracted boils.
(b) They would place underneath him sixty (see Agados Maharsha) felt sheets
at night. In the morning, they would find sixty bowls of blood containing
bits of white.
(c) His wife subsequently prepared for him - sixty different kinds of fig
(d) His wife not allow him to go to the Beis ha'Medrash - because she was
afraid that, in his frail state, the large number of people who frezuented
it might squash harm him.
(e) He asked for the Yisurin (which he referred to as his brothers and
friends - see Agados Maharsha) to depart each day (and for them to return
only at night) - in order to avoid Bitul Torah.
(a) His wife left him and ran away to her father's house - after she
overheard him one night, asking for 'his brothers and friends' to return,
accusing him of wasting her father's money (the dowry she had brought into
the marriage) on food and sheets. She had not previously been aware of the
fact his Yisurin came at his request.
(b) Rebbi Elazar managed without her - with the help of sixty sailors, who
having been saved from a storm by evoking his merit, came to thank him. They
now took over his wife's job.
(c) He instructed his daughter, whom her mother had sent to see how he was
managing - to inform her mother that his wealth was greater than hers (that
his heavenly supply was greater than her earthly one).
(d) In view of the strange way that his salvation had arrived, he applied to
himself the Pasuk - "Haysah ka'Oniyos Socher, mi'Merchak Tavi Lachmah".
(a) He ate and drank and was cured and returned to the Beis ha'Medrash. When
he declared Tahor sixty cases of Dam Nidah that were brought to him for
inspection, the Rabbanan objected - because they did not consider it
conceivable that there was not even one case of Safek among all those cases
(and consequently, Rebbi Elazar ought to not to have allowed that particular
woman to return to her husband without Tevilah and the appropriate waiting
(b) There are five colors of Tamei Dam Nidah; all other colors are Tahor.
(c) He proved that he had not erred even in one case - by decreeing that all
the women would become pregnant that night and give birth to a boy, and that
if he had erred, one of them would give birth to a girl. In fact - they all
gave birth to a boy. And the women showed their appreciation for what he had
done - by calling their sons Elazar after him.
(d) When Rebbi spoke of that wicked one who prevented much Piryah ve'Yivyah
from Yisrael - he was referring to the kingdom of Rome, who had forced Rebbi
Elazar to arrest Resha'im instead of going to the Beis-ha'Medrash and
permitting women to their husbands. He might also have been referring to
Rebbi Elazar's wife, but the G'ra objects this explanation, because the
continuation of the Sugya suggests otherwise (see Eitz Yosef).
(a) Rebbi Elazar instructed his wife before his death - to place his body in
the attic after he died and not to be afraid. He did not want to be buried
conventionally - because he knew that the Rabbanan, who were still angry
with him for his police activities (since some of the people whom he had had
killed were their relatives [See also Agados Maharsha]).
(b) Rebbi Yonasan's mother, quoting Rebbi Elazar's wife, told Rebbi Shmuel
bar Nachmeini - that Rebbi Elazar's body lay in the attic for not less than
eighteen years, but not more than twenty-four.
(c) Rebbi Elazar's wife ...
1. ... whilst fondling through her husband's hair, would inadvertently pull
out a hair from his head - and blood would seep out from the hole.
(d) Rebbi Elazar would arbitrate between litigants after his death - by
having them stand by the door, where each one would state his case. He would
then declare which one was Chayav and which one was Patur.
2. ... once spotted a worm emerging from his ear. Rebbi Elazar appeared to
her in a dream - and explained to her that she need not worry that his body
would now begin to decompose, because it was a (once-off) punishment for not
reacting strongly enough when he once heard someone insulting a
(a) The Rabbanan decided to bury him after his wife cursed the woman with
whom she was quarreling that she should be like her husband, who was not
brought to Kevuras Yisrael - because, they decided, the fact that word had
now got out that Rebbi Elazar had not been buried, was a disgrace to his
name that had to be rectified.
(b) That was the reason according to the first Lashon. According to the
second Lashon - it was due to his father, Rebbi Shimon, who appeared to them
in a dream, and asked them why they did not bring 'his dove' to him.
(c) The residents of Achbarya did not allow them to bury Rebbi Elazar
b'Rebbi Shimon - because during all the years that his body had lain in the
attic, no wild animals had ever entered their town.
(d) The Rabbanan eventually got round the B'nei Achbarya - by asking the
B'nei Biri, one Erev Yom Kipur, when everyone was busy with their
preparations, to snatch the stretcher on which Rebbi Elazar lay, and bury
(e) They buried him in the same cave as his father. When they reached the
cave however - they found a snake encircling the cave, its tail in its
mouth. They solved the problem by asking the snake to open its mouth and let
them in, which it did.
(a) Rebbi Elazar's wife declined Rebbi's marriage proposal - on the grounds
that a vessel that was used for Kodesh cannot be used for Chol.
(b) In Eretz Yisrael, they describe it with a Mashal - Shall the shepherd
hang his satchel on the same peg that the warrior hangs his weapons?
(c) When Rebbi replied that even if her husband had been greater than him in
Torah, he was not greater in good deeds, she commented - that she did not
know who was greater in Torah, but she did know that her husband was greater
in good deeds, since he had willingly accepted Yisurin on himself.
(d) The colleagues of Raban Shimon ben Gamliel and Rebbi Yehoshua ben
Korchah (the Gedolei ha'Dor of that generation) raised Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi
Shimon and Rebbi from the ground and placed them on benches - because, due
to the latters' participation in the Torah discussions, they felt that they
benefited from them too.
(a) Raban Shimon ben Gamliel removed the bench from Rebbi and put him back
on the floor - because he was afraid that he would lose his (son Rebbi, the)
'dove' (as a result of the Ayin ha'Ra that would result from the Kavod).
(b) Rebbi Yehoshua ben Korchah - removed the bench from Rebbi Elazar too,
because he argued, it is not because he had no father that they should allow
him to be exposed to Ayin ha'Ra.
(c) Rebbi became upset - because by removing the bench from under Rebbi
Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon, they were placing him on a par with himself (because
the greater the person, the more subject he is to Ayin ha'Ra).
(d) If Rebbi Elazar b'Rebbi Shimon had initially supported Rebbi's
statements, from this incident and onwards - he would not only anticipate
Rebbi's Kashyos, but he would even provide answers that Rebbi had not
(a) When a despondent Rebbi described to his father how Rebbi Elazar was
running circles round him (see Agados Maharsha) - his father replied
modestly that this was because, whereas Rebbi Elazar was a lion, son of a
lion, he (Rebbi) was a lion, son of a fox.
(b) Rebbi was impressed with his father's Midos. He included in his list of
three humble people (besides his father, Raban Shimon ben Gamliel) - the
B'nei Beseira and Yonasan ben Shaul.